Guide to the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers, 1834-1984, bulk 1884-1929.
Benjamin Newton Duke (1855-1929) was the primary philanthropist in the Duke family and the eldest of Washington Duke's sons. He held a leadership role in several of the family companies, and was instrumental in founding Duke University.
- The Benjamin Newton Duke papers 1834-1984 bulk 1884-1929.
- Duke, Benjamin Newton
- 69 Linear Feet, Approximately 50,850 Items
- Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
- Correspondence Series, 1871-1941, undated
- Financial Papers, 1884-1924, undated
- Legal Papers Series, 1834-1928, undated
- Pictures Series, 1870s-1927, 1960s, undated
- Richard B. Arrington Papers Series, 1905-1914
- Alexander H. Sands, Jr., Papers Series, 1910-1918
- Miscellaneous Papers Series, 1880-1984, undated
- Oversize Material Series
The papers of Benjamin Newton Duke span the years 1834 to 1984, though the bulk of the papers date from 1884 to 1929. The collection is arranged into seven series: Correspondence; Financial Papers; Legal Papers; Pictures; Richard B. Arrington Papers; Alexander H. Sands, Jr., Papers; and Miscellaneous Papers. The collection reflects the financial, philanthropic, and social interests of Benjamin Newton Duke and his family. Its primary focus is the family's business dealings including their involvement in the development and growth of tobacco manufacturing, textiles, and hydroelectric power in the southern United States. Philanthropic interests are well represented throughout the collection and include education, social welfare, the Methodist Church (South) as well as individuals. Personal and family relationships, though less well-documented, are primarily related to social activities revolving around their homes in Durham, N.C., New York City, and winter trips to Florida. Besides Benjamin Newton Duke, other family members represented in this collection include: James Buchanan Duke, Washington Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, and other Duke, Angier, Biddle, Roney, and Lyons relatives.
The majority of the letters in the Correspondence Series are concerned with business and philanthropic interests. The day-to-day affairs of Mr. Duke and his family were handled through personal secretaries or agents in either the New York or Durham, N.C., business offices, and much of the correspondence reflects this. Over the years these agents included: Richard B. Arrington, Miss E. A. Childs, Alexander H. Sands, Jr., and J.E. Stagg.
Mr. Duke's business interests centered on tobacco manufacturing, banking, textiles, mining, transportation, and hydroelectric power in North Carolina and throughout the United States. His primary business partners were Washington Duke (his father), James Buchanan Duke (his brother), George Washington Watts and William A. Erwin. The major companies represented in the Correspondence Series include: W. Duke, Sons and Company; Allen and Company; American Tobacco Company; British-American Tobacco Company; Liggett and Meyers Tobacco Company; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company; Citizens National Bank of Durham, N.C.; Bank of Harnett, N.C.; The Fidelity Bank of Durham, N.C.; Guaranty Trust Company of New York; Erwin Cotton Mills; Cannon Manufacturing Company; Mayo Mills; Odell Manufacturing Company; Southern Cotton Oil Company; Durham Fertilizer Company; Jim Butler Tonopah Mining Company; Republic Iron and Steel Company; Seaboard Air Line Railway; Dallas Cable Railroad; Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway Company; Durham and Southern Railway Company; Georgia Railway and Power Company; Durham Electric Lighting Company; Spray Water and Power Company; and Southern Power Company (later Duke Power Company). Other investments included real estate, spring and mineral water companies, and the motion picture industry. The latter is represented by letters and minutes (1915) of The National Drama Corporation (founded by Thomas Dixon) to produce a movie entitled Fall of a Nation, a sequel to Birth of a Nation.
Mr. Duke's philanthropic interests were equally as numerous as his business interests. The Correspondence Series reflects his generosity to both black and white institutions and individuals. Major support was given to schools, churches and social welfare agencies. Among those supported were Trinity College (later Duke University), Greensboro Female College, Louisburg Female College, Kittrell College, Elon College, Lincoln Memorial University, North Carolina College for Negroes, The Bingham School,Trinity Church, Main Street Church,West Durham Methodist Church, National Religious Training School and Chatauqua for the Colored Race, Oxford Orphan Asylum, the Salvation Army, the Durham Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A., and Lincoln Hospital.
Personal letters in the Correspondence Series reflect the activities and interests of a socially prominent family during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Also shown is Mr. Duke's support of various relatives over the years. Family members represented include: Benjamin Newton Duke,James Buchanan Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, and Anthony J. Drexel Biddle. Additional letters are from members of the Duke, Angier,Biddle, Roney and Lyons families, as well as a variety of friends, acquaintances and strangers seeking his financial assistance. Among the personal correspondence is a response concerning the Julian Shakespeare Carr/Daniel Lindsey Russell gubernatorial campaign (1896) and a series of letters from son-in-law Anthony J. Drexel Biddle (over Christmas/New Years 1918-1919) concerning demobilization and the League of Nations.
The Financial Papers Series complements information found in the Correspondence Series and pertains to the purchase and sale of stock, household expenses, farm expenditures, bills, Mr. Duke's contributions and gifts, transactions for the purchase and repair of automobiles, and the building and furnishing of Duke homes in New York and North Carolina. This series is also an excellent source for examples of 19th-century advertising artwork. Secretary/agents managed the personal expenses and investment portfolios of Benjamin Newton Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke,Angier Buchanan Duke, and Mary Duke Biddlein addition to Mr. Duke's business and philanthropic affairs as reflected in this series. Household expenses for the Duke homes in New York City and Four Acresin Durham, N.C., as well as upkeep of the Duke Farmin Orange County, N.C., were handled through these agents. Stock transactions were handled through a number of brokers, including: Daniel O'Dell & Company, Dominick & Dominick, Halstead & Hagemeyer, and Moore & Schley.
Topical files in the Financial Papers Series concern stock transactions, personal family accounts and charitable contributions. Early minute books and stock certificates for the Alaska Dredging and Power Company and the Solomon River Hydraulic Mining Company, and the stocks, bonds, and dividend records for the Southern Investment Company of Canada, Ltd., are included in this series. To a lesser degree, the Financial Papers Series deals with business affairs of Washington Duke. A cashbook for W. Duke, Sons and Company (1891) also includes trial balances for both Washington Duke (1893-1897) and Benjamin Duke (1893-1897). Brodie L. Duke's involvement with W. Duke, Sons and Company is shown in an account book pertaining to tobacco purchases (1876-1878) and also in the Correspondence Series (1890s). The interrelationship of the business dealings of Benjamin and James Duke can be found throughout the collection.
Property transactions in Orange County and Durham, N.C.,are found in the Legal Papers Series. Beginning in 1834 the records include deeds and plats and contain the names of early families in Durham. Other records in this series include charters for various businesses; papers regarding the Kimball Town Company, a milltown in Marion County, Tenn. (1890); a legal brief concerning a lawsuit brought by Richard Wrightin 1891; and a copy of Washington Duke's will (1905).
Albums, in the Pictures Series, contain primarily cabinet cards inserted in Victorian binders. Most of these photographs date from the late 1800s and are of Duke family members, including Angier and Lyon relatives. Other persons included are Bishop Charles Betts Galloway, Reverend William S. Black, Arthur H. Merritt, and President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland. In addition to the albums in this series, there are individual photographs of Mary Duke Biddle, Angier Buchanan Duke, Benjamin Newton Duke, Cordelia Biddle Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke and Washington Duke dating from the 1880s to 1920s. Group pictures taken on the boardwalk (1924) in Atlantic City, N.J., also include James Buchanan Duke, Robert Lee Flowers and Lily Parrish Flowers. Other photographs are of Professor Dowd, John Acero Angier, James Haywood Southgate, and Reuben Oscar Everett. Photographs also represent buildings and property. There is a large group of photographs of the Duke Farm in Orange County, N.C., ca. 1910-1919. (See also information folder with inventory.) Benjamin Newton Duke's Durham home "Four Acres" is represented by two sets of exterior and interior photographs, ca. 1910 and 1961.
The Richard B. Arrington Papers Series is composed of the personal papers of Benjamin Newton Duke's personal secretary and business agent, who worked in the New York office. This series is comprised of letters, letterbook, accounts, check stubs, and receipts. Correspondence covers two periods: 1903-1907 and 1911-1914. From 1903to 1907 the major focus is building and furnishing a house on Ridgeview Road in White Plains, N.Y. From 1911 the emphasis is on Mr. Arrington's business interests, including stock transactions and insurance. Since Richard Arrington died April 17, 1913, the remainder of the correspondence (1913-1914) concerns his estate. His wife, Ethel Lewis Arrington,carried on much of his personal business during this period. The accounts, check stubs and receipts pertain to Mr. Arrington's general business activities; the major focus is on stock transactions especially of the Piedmont Syndicate. Much of his business parallels his work for Benjamin Newton Duke.
The Alexander H. Sands, Jr., Papers Series contains personal papers belonging to another of Benjamin Newton Duke's secretary/agents in his New Yorkoffice. The series includes letters, letterbooks, account book, check registers, check stubs, a daybook, ledger and receipts. The correspondence, 1910-1918, primarily concerns Mr. Sands's family matters and personal business interests. He also supported both his parents, Mary Harvey Sands and Tucker K. Sands. Alexander H. Sands's business papers, like those of Richard Arrington, often parallel his work for Benjamin Newton Duke. In addition to detailing stock transactions and other business, these records include an account book of the Southern Audit Company of New York, Inc., for 1914-1915,of which Sands was a partner.
Of primary interest in the Miscellaneous Series is a diary, 1927-1929, of Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, including entries for Benjamin Newton Duke's lengthy illness and death. A folder on family genealogy includes notes on the baptisms of Benjamin and Sarah Duke'schildren. Other files pertain to the funerals of Benjamin Newtonand Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, memorials for Angier Buchanan Duke and James Buchanan Duke,and tributes to Benjamin Newton Duke made during his lifetime and after his death. The bulk of the Miscellaneous Series includes information on many of the businesses in which Mr. Duke had an interest. Examples include The American Tobacco Company; Dixie Fire Insurance Company;Great Falls Power Company; Jim Butler Tonopah Mining Company; Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company;and Seaboard Air Line Railway. General files will be found on banking, churches, cotton mills, mining, public utilities, and social welfare agencies. All of these businesses are well represented in both the Correspondence and the Financial Papers Series.
Related collections in the Rubenstein Library are the James Buchanan Duke Papers, the Washington Duke Papers, and the Semans Family Papers. In addition to correspondence, these collections contain many photographs of Duke family members. The Duke University Archives is another source of information on the relationship of the Duke family to Duke University.
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
The copyright interests in these papers have not been transferred to Duke University. The Benjamin Newton Duke papers were processed with support from The Duke Endowment.
Letters, letterbooks, receipts, bills, memoranda, telegrams, minutes, and printed reports related to the financial, philanthropic, and personal interests of Benjamin Newton Duke. Correspondence is arranged in two categories: letters and letterbooks. These are filed chronologically with letterbooks following letters. The fragile letterbooks (1892-1923) consist of bound carbon-copies of outgoing correspondence.
Reflects the scope of the personal, business and philanthropic interests of Benjamin Newton Duke. Types of records from Mr. Duke's Durham and New York offices include bills, charitable contributions, check stubs, invoices, statements of accounts, tax statements, minutes, receipts, stock transactions, trial balances, household and petty cash accounts. Bills and receipts are arranged chronologically at the beginning of the series. The remaining papers are arranged alphabetically by topic or type of record.
Additional oversize materials in Box 149.
Oversize materials in Box 149.
Oversize materials in Box 149.
Majority pertain to property transactions of various people, including Benjamin Newton Duke, in Orange County and Durham, N.C. Other papers include charters for businesses, insurance policies, a legal brief, and a copy of Washington Duke's will. Arranged alphabetically.
Photographs and blueprints. Photographs include family albums, a series of views of the Duke Farm in Orange County and Four Acres in Durham, and individuals. Blueprints include the Pigeon River Power Plant Project, Duke Farm stables, and an addition to the Southern Conservatory of Music. Arranged by category: albums, people, and buildings.
Relates to personal and financial interests of Arrington, secretary and business agent for Benjamin Newton Duke. Much of the correspondence, including enclosed bills and receipts, relates to the construction of his home in White Plains, N.Y. Business papers concern his stock dealings and after his death, his estate. The correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by the letterbook. Papers related to financial interests are arranged alphabetically.
A secretary/business agent for Benjamin Newton Duke, these papers relate to Mr. Sands's personal and financial interests. Much of the correspondence is concerned with his business interests and the support of his wife and his parents. Business papers include check registers, check stubs, and receipts. Correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by the letterbook. Business records are arranged alphabetically.
Includes Sarah Pearson Angier Duke's diary (1927-1929); clippings; genealogical material; material pertaining to funerals, memorials, and tributes; printed material; scrapbook; recipes; and tobacco/cigarette flavorings. Arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material. Printed material is arranged alphabetically by company name and relates to business and philanthropic interests throughout the United States.
Oversize materials in Box 149 and in OC:II:4.
|1855, Apr. 27||Born to Washington and Artelia Roney Duke; Orange Co., N.C.|
|1856||Brother, James Buchanan Duke, born|
|1858||Mother, Artelia Roney Duke, died of typhoid|
|1871||Enrolled New Garden School (later Guilford College), near Greensboro, N.C.|
|1874||Father moved family to Durham proper|
|1877, Feb. 21||Married Sarah Pearson Angier|
|1878||Duke, Sons and Company established|
|188?, Oct. 3||Son, George Washington Duke, born. Died at age 2 or 3|
|1884, Dec. 8||Son, Angier Buchanan Duke, born|
|1887, Nov. 16||daughter, Mary Lillian Duke, born|
|1889||Elected member Board of Trustees, Trinity College|
|1890-?||Director, American Tobacco Company|
|1891||Brought William A. Erwinto Durham. Established Erwin Mills|
|1893-1922||President, The Fidelity Bank of Durham, N.C.|
|1898||Delegate, General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Baltimore, Md.|
|1905, June 22||Southern Power Company established by Benjamin N. and James B. Duke, (later Duke Power Company)|
|1905, May 8||Father, Washington Duke, died|
|1923, Sept. 3||Son, Angier Buchanan Duke, died|
|1925, Oct. 10||Brother, James Buchanan Duke, died|
|1929, Jan. 8||Died New York City. Buried in family mausoleum at Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, N.C.|
|1936||Remains removed to the Memorial Chapel of Duke University Chapel along with those of father, Washington Duke, and brother, James Buchanan Duke|
|1936, Sept. 3||Wife, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, died|
Benjamin Newton Duke took a leading role in the development of the tobacco, textile and hydroelectric power industries in North Carolina. He served as president of Citizens National Bank in Durham, N.C., and of the Southern Railway Company. Along with his brother, James Buchanan Duke, and their partner, George Washington Watts, Benjamin Duke held substantial investments in a variety of enterprises throughout the United States.
Benjamin Duke took a primary role in conducting the Duke family's philanthropies from the late 1880s until his death. Between 1892 and 1927 it is estimated he contributed to over 400 organizations or institutions, including churches, hospitals, orphanages, schools and universities. This does not take into account assistance given to relatives and other individuals.
- Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier, 1856-1936
- Trinity College (Durham, N.C.)
- W. Duke, Sons and Company (Durham, N.C.)
- American Tobacco Company
- Erwin Mills (Durham, N.C)
- Mayo Mills
- Durham Electric Lighting Company
- Spray Water Power and Land Company
- Dallas Cable Railroad
- Durham Fertilizer Company
- Alaska Dredging and Power Company
- Solomon River Hydraulic Mining Company
- Governors -- North Carolina -- Election
- Tobacco industry -- North Carolina
- Electric utilities -- North Carolina
- Universities and colleges -- North Carolina
- North Carolina -- Industries
- Banks and banking -- North Carolina
- Duke, Benjamin Newton
- Duke, Angier Buchanan, 1884-1923
- Biddle, Mary Duke 1887-1960
- Biddle, Anthony Joseph Drexel, 1896-1961
- Arrington, Richard B., d. 1913
- Sands, Alexander H. 1891-1960
[Identification of item], Benjamin Newton Duke Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The papers of Benjamin Newton Duke, tobacco manufacturer, industrialist and philanthropist, have been received from a variety of sources over an extended period of time. While acquisition information about the bulk of the collection is unrecorded, it is believed that it was given by his daughter, Mary Duke Biddle. Additions to the collection were made by Mary Duke Biddle, 1939; Alexander H. Sands, Jr., 1940- 1941, 1953; R.D. Graham, 1950; Mrs. Lucy Cole Durham, 1951; Mrs. James H. Semans (Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans), 1961-1972; Bud Alexander, 1970; Duke University Archives, 1980; and Julia Wightman, 1990.
Processed by Madeleine Bagwell Perez
Completed June 30, 1991
Encoded by Rachel Pottinger
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.
Processing Note: In 1991 the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers were reprocessed through the support of The Duke Endowment. At that time the collection was arranged by distinct series and the papers reboxed and refoldered. While much of the Correspondence and Financial Papers Series follow their original order, some rearrangement has been done throughout the collection.
Volumes, once shelved separately, have been integrated into the collection. Examples include: letterbooks, check stubs, stock ledgers, oversized memorials, etc.
During the reprocessing, duplicate printed material was removed. Additionally, three hymn books, once belonging to Benjamin and Sarah Duke, have been transferred to the Rare Book Collection. These hymnals are for the worship services of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and date from 1878 and 1889.